Interested in hiking the trail? Download it here!
April, 14 th 2019
Sakura in the rain. Hiking Mt. Yoshino. Yoshinoyama is a famous destination during Sakura (cherry blossom). Sakura season was almost over and it would be the last chance to enjoy the full bloom due to the colder temperature in Nara’s mountains. The weather forecast was quite bad. Anyway since the destination was famous I had no great expectations in the trail and also expected many people joining this event. We met at Ōsaka Abenobashi Station and people joined gradually. Tomal have had a very hard time to find the group and since he couldn’t manage to find the meeting point at Ōsaka Station this issue becomes more and more a running gag. With electronic support he managed to find us and we caught our train. The sky was grey and heavy clouds were hanging around. Just moments before we arrived at Yoshino Station drops fell at the train’s window. At Yoshino Station another huge group was waiting, hidden within many tourist. It was a little bit chaotic, but we managed to gather quickly. Today’s trail was kind of long and since it started raining and the temperature was low, we decided to take the bus and skip the souvenir road. In the bus I realized it was the right decision. We skipped around 5 km, which were boring. The trailhead was at a temple and luckily the rain almost stopped. We climbed up a street and were surrounded by small and cute souvenir shops. In Japan it is obligatory to bring something from the placed you visited in your holidays or excursion to your friends, family or coworkers. This is a part of the culture and the industry evolved. The most common souvenir is food and each area tries to offer something characteristic. So, souvenir shops in Japan are always an interesting experience no matter if you are a tourist or not. We continued on a tarred road into the mountains and it didn’t take a long time until the first “wows” were spoken. Even though the it was grey and cloudy, the mountains were amazing. The hills were studded by coloured cherry trees. Blurs of white and all colours in the red and pink spectrum appeared in the mountains. Due to the suboptimal weather there were less tourists, so it was very enjoyable. We took our lunch break at a viewpoint on a hill with an amazing view of the valley. The soil was a little bit wet, but nobody cared. We continued climbing up the road to a small mountain summit. This place must be just wonderful in summer. We entered a forest and soon there were almost no other people around us anymore. When we arrived at Mt. Aonegamine and it’s shrine we left the last tourists behind. The road became finally a hiking trail and together we enjoyed being alone in the nature surrounded by the mountains. The atmosphere was very special today, it felt like we knew each other for a long time and it followed their own dynamic. We made several stops to share cakes, chat and enjoy the trail. Finding Mt. Aonegamine’s summit was a little bit tricky or better said we didn’t bumped into it like usually. The summit was quite disappointing, a tiny place within high trees with a small wooden sign. But we took it with humour. The last part of the trail wasn’t worth to hike it, but we didn’t regret and enjoyed our time together. Soon we decided to skip the road loop and headed back. The sky went deep grey, but still we stayed dry. We merged into the trail we came from, so we could enjoy the beautiful coloured mountains for a second time. We decided to take the group picture at the place we had our lunch break earlier and asked a young couple to take a photo. The slope was very steep and super slippery. I was the last one to join and after I dropped my camera to the couple I was up to join the group. Within a second I lost grip and fell down with my back into the mud. Well done! That’s typically me. Well, while in Europe everybody would have laughed and create a funny memory, nobody did. This made the situation a little bit awkward, but at least I didn’t care. My whole back was fully of dirt and I kind of liked it. We walked back and arrived at the little village and passed the souvenir stores. This time we didn’t take a bus and as mentioned it was very interesting and a nice chance to discover new things, especially food. We visited a temple and it started raining, but nobody cared. Everybody was enjoying the nice time. It was such a relaxing atmosphere and sometimes, especially at this “touristic hikes” it is rather work for me than pleasure. But today I just stayed with my friends and inside I felt a deep calmness and satisfaction. This day was the imperfect perfection. The rain and the grey sky surrounded by the colourful mountains created a special atmosphere. Sakura are usually a symbol of perfection and happiness and sunshine, but here at this place it was very different. It is very hard to describe the emotions. Sometimes I have the feeling that at amazing places the people are grey in this shiny scenery, but here I had the feeling the people were shining bright and lighting up the scenery. Well, at least it was my very personal emotion in this moment. We walked back to train station and took the next train back to Ōsaka. This time we had dinner at my neighbourhood, Tennōji, and once we arrived it started raining heavily. Lucky us. We went with around nine people to an Okonomiyaki restaurant (a speciality of Ōsaka) and had an joyful evening together. At least I wouldn’t recommend this trail as a hike itself. It is rather a Sunday’s walk, which I definitely recommend during Sakura. If you looking for a real hike, there a many amazing trails in and around Ōsaka. But if you looking for a joyful time on a Sunday enjoy your time surrounded by the mountains and Japanese culture. Not even only during Sakura.
Access: Kintetsu Yoshino Station